We have been following along on Crystal Cruises journey as the ultra luxury line proceeds to set the bar high for their culinary efforts. Not long ago, in Get To Know: Ultraluxed Cruise Dining, we detailed Crystal’s efforts to redefine cuisine with a main dining room experience that looks to be Michelin star bound. Now, Crystal Cruises is putting a twist on its popular “Wine & Food” Experiences of Discovery with beer-focused Boutique Adventures, expert presentations, cooking and cocktail classes, tasting sessions, and dinners. Along for the ride on one and only one sailing of Crystal Serenity, a number of renowned beer experts, all sharing their knowledge along the way.
“We’ve recently seen the growing interest in microbrews, from crafting to drinking, reflected in our own guests’ palates, leading us to add international specialty beers to our Connoisseur beverage menu in 2013,” says Crystal’s Toni Neumeister, VP, food and beverage operations and hotel procurement.
On tap for the Crystal Serenity November 5 voyage; lagers, stouts, IPAs, and “cold ones” that are barrel-aged, made with bacon, have names like “Funky Old Time,” and more – all for a new Microbrew-themed luxury cruise. The sailing begins in New York, goes down the East coast, into the Caribbean and ends in Miami.
“A microbrew theme in 2014 is a natural extension of that interest, utilizing the programming format of our successful ‘Wine & Food’-cruises to expand travelers’ palates and minds in new ways that can last well beyond their cruise,” added Neumeister.
Programming highlights include two new Boutique Adventures created just for this voyage. The shore-side excursions take guests to micro- and nano-breweries in and around New York and Charleston for exclusive behind-the-scenes access, expert insight, and diverse sampling of innovative, historic, seasonal, and limited-run beers, complete with a souvenir “growler” swag bag in South Carolina.
Beer experts along for the ride
- Sharing their expertise, beer experts Stephen Beaumont and certified cicerone (beer sommelier) Victoria Tonini, both leading tastings and microbrew presentations.
- TV’s Anthony Caporale ( Art of the Drink ) will teach guests how to make cocktails using beer, then serve them up as guest mixologist behind Crystal’s bar.
- Author/chef Jon Ashton will lead hands-on cooking classes using beer as an ingredient, and create special beer-themed dinners for all guests in the Crystal Dining Room and in the (smaller) Vintage Room, which will feature seven courses of rare beers from around the world.
The itinerary begins with an overnight in New York City before sailing down the U.S. East Coast to Baltimore, Maryland; Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Turks & Caicos/Grand Turk; Curaçao/Willemstad; Oranjestad, Aruba; and Miami, Florida.
All-inclusive cruise fares for the 14-day voyage start at $4,710/person, early bird savings of $1,450/person if booked by June 30. A shorter, 11-day version of the cruise is also available departing from Baltimore, with “Book Now” fares starting at $3,700/person. The limited-availability microbrew Boutique Adventures start at $179/person.
Flickr photo Wagner T. Cassimiro